by Steven Ertelt
August 10, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A House committee is considering a measure that would remove the budget of the District of Columbia from Congressional oversight. The measure has pro-life advocates concerned because it could result in Congress losing its ability to prevent the federal district from funding abortions with taxpayer dollars.
The District of Columbia is a unique city with a unique funding and governance system and Congress has always approved the budget for the District along with any special appropriations for it.
Under current federal law, which has been in place for decades, taxpayers across the country are protected from paying for abortions done on women on Medicaid in the nation’s capital.
Last Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee considered the budget autonomy bill, H.R. 733.
In response to concerns that it would open up taxpayer-funded abortions, Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, offered an amendment to permanently ban taxpayer funded abortions in the District of Columbia.
However, the committee’s business was interrupted by a vote on the House floor and did not resume consideration of the bill when it returned. As a result, the panel never voted on the Jordan amendment.
Chairman Henry Waxman, who backs abortion, then deferred any further consideration of the bill.
Eventually, the panel will resume consideration of the measure and pro-life groups are urging that the Jordan amendment be adopted so taxpayers can be protected from paying for abortions even if the District of Columbia is allowed to approve its own budget.
The abortion funding ban has been important because, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 37% of pregnancies in the District of Columbia ended in abortion in 2000. That’s a much higher rate than the national average, which remains around 21 percent.
A 2006 National Abortion Federation report indicates that 20-35% of Medicaid eligible women carry their pregnancies to term instead of having an abortion when taxpayer funds are not available.
ACTION: Please contact these members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and urge them to support the Jordan amendment to prevent taxpayer funding of abortions in Washington, D.C. You can find a list of members at https://oversight.house.gov/about/members.asp and can reach any member at 202-224-3121.